Aaron, welcome to Lavender Lass Books. Thank you for agreeing to this interview and best of luck in the competition!
Flames of Rebellion is the first book in The Broken Gods trilogy. Here’s the blurb:
A dying world. A broken mage. An oppressed people. The sparks of a rebellion. The world of Takaara is about to change but are the people ready for it? A young, nomadic mage, Arden Leifhand, journeys across the harsh Borderlands searching for his place is the world. Taken in by a tribe of warriors, Arden discovers there may be more to him than the bullied outcast he had always thought he was. Meanwhile, south of the Borderlands, Katerina Kane is thrust back into her old life of solving crime in Archania as she searches for the murderer of her lover. Archania has changed since she last worked a case and The Empire of Light is tightening its grip on the land. Through it all, rebellion is stirring with the downtrodden citizens as the land teeters on the edge of war.
“The Flames of Rebellion is a stunning masterpiece for this debut fantasy novel. I am clearly impressed, happy, and was so engrossed in what this story evolved into.”
“When the plot really started to take off and swept me along with it, I was hooked! The plot grabbed me – I threw away my phone and glued the book to my hand, and the remaining 280 pages flew by. Can I read book two immediately? I must know what happens to these characters next!”
“The cast of characters are so very well written, the ones you are suppose to like you do and the ones you shouldn’t, you really don’t. Then there are characters that will surprise you, and I was impressed with the growth of a certain one.
There is so much, that I haven’t even touched on in this review. I can’t spoil the story for you. We have betrayal, backstabbing, lies and deception. Heartbreak and humor. I had tears fill my eyes more than once. Political intrigue, I love a good political fantasy. Mysterious characters, journeys, rebellion against cult like religions. So if these things call to you then this book is for you.
My jaw at the end of this book dropped so hard, that end. WOW! That ending will leave you in need of the second book. Not want, but need.”
“Wow! I devoured the Flames of Rebellion in a single afternoon because it had me hooked right from the beginning and I needed to find out what was going to happen next. The ending left me hungry for more, and luckily enough the second book in this series – Paths of Chaos was released just a few days ago, so I will be able to jump back into this world straight away. A fantastic read, with a world and characters that I was immediately invested in, and a story that swept me away and I would highly recommend this book.”
Rowena – BENEATHATHOUSANDSKIES.COM
And now to the interview:
1. Is this your first time entering #SPFBO? Why did you decide to enter this book?
Yes – first time and it is extremely exciting and nerve-wracking! I have followed the SPFBO for a few years and this is the first time that I have had an eligible work of my own to enter. I am extremely proud of FLAMES OF REBELLION and the good reviews it has received gave me the confidence to enter it this year. It feels incredible just to see my little book up against authors who I adore in the competition. I’d love to see it go further and it is always fun reading the opinions of those who have taken the time to read my work.
2. Why do you write in the fantasy genre? What make this genre particularly appealing to you?
Fantasy has always been a love of mine, ever since reading The Hobbit when I was seven. It gives a writer freedom to create and explore a wide range of themes. The escapism aspect is important and the way in which fantasy can pick on issues in the real world but deal with them with a subtle hand has always drawn me to it.
3. Why did you decide to self-publish?
It was my first novel and I had seen the way in which self-published authors had released their work with confidence and a pride in the fact that they had control. Traditional publishing involves a very drawn out process and I wanted to get this work into the hands of readers as soon as it was ready.
4. Are there advantages to self-publishing? What about the challenges?
Many challenges. The cost involved and the amount of work with marketing and ensuring the book is to a high standard can be very difficult and draining. The positives include a fabulous and supportive community of writers and readers. Also, the level of input and control means that the book is released in a way that I can feel is truly a reflection of myself.
5. As a reader, and now author, how has the fantasy genre changed over the last several years? How has it stayed the same?
I love the diversity within the worlds and characters that I see in fantasy now. Fantasy is now full of such a diverse group of writers, settings, and characters and that can only be a good thing. I lived in the Middle East for two years and I felt so happy to see my friends over there picking up fantasy books and seeing characters that they could relate to and see a reflection of themselves instead of just the white males that dominated work in the past. I also love the rise in grey characters and being able to see the world as more than just good vs evil. Fantasy is a gateway to discussing real world themes and issues and so it is vital that readers can view a diverse cast of characters and themes within the stories they read.
6. Do you write (or plan to write) in any other genres?
I have outlined a horror novel and I plan on writing sci-fi stories in the future. I am always drawn back to fantasy though. I love blending genres and breaking boundaries though I will always lean heavily towards fantasy. I’d love to write a story in the vein of Saga – a graphic novel by Brian K. Vaughn that mixes fantasy and sci-fi. I have a rough idea of what I would like to do but will wait until I have finished my current trilogy before starting it.
7. What do you look for in a story? Especially in the fantasy genre? (Original ideas, plot lines, character development, world building, etc.?)
Characters who I can root for or characters I can boo! I just want to feel something when I am reading and I feel that it is character work that does that. An interesting character in a mundane world will still draw me in though an interesting world with mundane characters will have me not finishing the book. I need to care about what the characters are doing, even if it isn’t that exciting! I also love settings in places different to what I have seen before.
8. Are you working on a new book? Can you share any details?
Paths of Chaos has just been released and that is the sequel to Flames of Rebellion. End of Days is almost ready and that is the third book of the trilogy. Outside of The Broken Gods Trilogy, I have Memories of Blood and Shadow which is in the editing stage and is about an old warrior looking back on his life and recalling the events that led to him killing a God. I am also working on an untitled murder mystery involving orcs and a hard drinking dwarven detective which has been so much fun!
9. Do you have any advice you would offer to writers who plan to self-publish in the fantasy genre?
Don’t rush things. Make sure you release the book you want to release and pay for an editor and a cover artist. Formatting can be a nightmare but there are people who can help! Also, be kind. This is advice that could go for anyone but being kind is the most important thing. Speak to other authors, reviewers, readers, bloggers, anyone! They will be your support network through the difficult times and they are worth their weight in gold. Trust in your work but be ruthless, cut what needs to be cut and shine a light on what is left. Know that some people won’t like your work and that is okay; even Tolkien isn’t loved by everyone! Also, write short stories. Enter competitions and hone your craft. Writing is like a sword that must be sharpened before battle. Keep at it and make sure you love it. There will be difficult times ahead but the good times will keep you going. Writing should be a passion – find your routine and do your best. Finish that first draft and then tighten it up as much as you can – and if you are nervous, ask for support. There are people out there who will be more than happy to help!
You can find Aaron S. Jones’ book on Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/Flames-Rebellion-Broken-Gods-Book-ebook/dp/B08FCPN7JD